Working full-time in the outdoor industry puts us out in the wilderness and in camp sites quite often. Usually we try to make most of our meals ahead of time from scratch, but it’s really convenient to have some quick and easy meals in the field. Hunts can go long, fishing trips are sometimes hard to conclude and sometimes, if you want a hot meal after a long hike, it’s nice to have an “instant” fast food choice.
Recently our family tried three brands of dehydrated meals in the field. All of these samples were provided by the companies for review purposes only and not for compensation.
Running the gamut on cuisine from Thai to Mexican to Italian to traditional American, each of these meals offered flavorful representations of fresh food.
We enjoyed all three flavors of Good To-Go foods the most. Each had distinct flavors and none were overly-salted. The ingredients were all “real food” and didn’t leave any kind of chemical/preservative aftertaste or stomach ache like many over-processed foods. Enticingly titled, Thai Curry, Herbed Mushroom Risotto and Classic Marinara with Penne; none disappointed. The Thai Curry is actually something I would choose to eat, as it tasted like some of the street food I have enjoyed in Bangkok.Our next taste test found us dining on Great Grub Camp Food. This was more of a semi-instant meal as we needed a skillet to cook in. The advantage of this food is you can add your own protein and since we were in bear camp, we added fresh ground bear. Any meat or meat substitute will suffice but bear was fantastic in the Chipotle Tamale Pie. This cooked up well in the skillet and with easy to follow, step-by-step instructions we were able to bake the moist, flavorful cornbread topping right on the camp stove. With the exception of a few chewy black beans, this dish tasted nearly home cooked. The Cheese Tortellini Soup was a favorite with the kids as were the cookies, pancakes and Mayan Hot Chocolate. I like that this is all “real food,” similar to Good To-Go. As a side note, Great Grub Camp Food doesn’t have as long a shelf life as many other camp foods so it needs to be used up within a season.A stand-by we have used for years are the ready-made gourmet outdoor meals from the Wise Company. They private labeled a nice sized bucket with15 packages of assorted, Grab-n-Go Foods for Camp Chef. Quite tasty, there’s a trade-off with ingredients. With a 7-year shelf life, there are quite a few preservatives/additives listed in the package. These meals can also be a bit salty. One of the tricks I use is to add a 2 cups of plain rice or noodles to each 2-person serving. This not only extends the serving size to 3 or 4, it cuts down on sodium per serving. Most of these meals make a convenient baked potato topping as well. Cheesy Lasagna and Noodles and Beef in Savory Mushroom Sauce are family favorites of ours.
If you are looking for other ideas for camp cooking or hiking, take a look at these posts: Loaded Oatmeal, Venison Camp Chili, Camp Cooker Lunch, Fruit Leather, or Trail Mix.
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